Step aside Gov. Charlie Crist. You've got some double-talking company** in the Republican race for U.S. Senate: Marco Rubio.
"I have never voted for a tax increase," Rubio says on his campaign Web site.
Not so, says the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact checker:
From 2000 to 2008 -- the years Rubio was in office -- the required local effort from Florida's school districts rose about 102 percent, from $4.08 billion to $8.25 billion. Rubio voted for the budget, and the schools tax, each year. Some of that increase was created by new construction, but at least $2.5 billion came in additional property tax payments made by Floridians.
Two important caveats:
• In 2008, the Rubio-led House originally passed a budget that did not raise the schools tax -- the increase came later during budget negotiations between the House and Senate. Rubio praised that year's final budget as being balanced "without raising taxes."
• And in eight of Rubio's nine years, the corresponding tax rate went down. But because of increasing property values, the actual dollar amount -- the figure the Legislature sets -- grew.
The best example of this comes in 2007. As Rubio, Crist and the Legislature were pushing to reform the state's property tax system, they also were passing a budget that increased school property tax collections about $340 million, excluding increases for new construction.
The Rubio analysis here
**More here, here, here and here on Crist's double-talking. (Note: this list is not exhaustive, but is larger than Rubio's because Crist has more of a record and, seemingly, more inconsistencies with that record).